A discourse concerning the earthquake and
fiery eruption which defeated that emperor's attempt to rebuild the temple
which the Reality of a Divine Interposition is Shewn the Objections to it
are Answered and the Nature of that Evidence which Demands the Assent of
every reasonable man to a miraculous act.
Dr. William Warburton
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WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
"The Emperor Julian, commonly called the Apostate, made the effort, and was baffled in a most extraordinary way. In speaking of what he terms "the miraculous interposition of heaven, which defeated Julian’s attempt to rebuild the Jewish temple of Jerusalem," Bishop Warburton says: "Sacrifices constituting the essentials of their [the Jews] worship, their religion could not be said to exist longer than that celebration continued. But sacrifices were to be performed in no place out of the walls of their temple. So that when this holy place was finally destroyed, according to the prophetical predictions, the institution itself became abolished. Nor was anything more consonant to the genius of this religion, than the assigning such a celebration of its principal rites. The temple would exist while they remained a people, and continued sovereign. And when their sovereignty was lost, the temple-worship became precarious, and subject to the arbitrary pleasure of their masters. They destroyed this temple: but it was not till it had lost its use. For the rites, directed to be there celebrated, were relative to them only as a free-policied people.
"So that this was, in reality, a total
extinction of the Jewish worship. How wonderful are the ways of God! This came to pass at that very period when a new revelation from heaven concurred with the blind transactions of civil policy, to supersede the law by the introduction of the gospel: the last great work which completed the scheme of human redemption.
"To confound this admirable order of providence was what induced the Emperor Julian to attempt the rebuilding of the Jewish temple of Jerusalem. The vanity of the attempt could only be equaled by its impiety; for it was designed to give the lie to God, who, by the mouth of his prophets, had foretold that it should never be rebuilt. Here, then, was the most important occasion for a miraculous interposition, as it was to defeat this mad attempt. And thus in fact it was defeated, to the admiration of all mankind.
"But as a large and full account of the whole affair hath been already given to the public, in a work entituled — Julian, or a Discourse concerning the Earthquake and Fiery Eruption which defeated that Emperors attempt to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem; thither will I refer the learned reader, who will there meet with all the various evidence of the fact, abundantly sufficient to support and establish it; together with a full confutation of all the cavils opposed to its certainty and necessity."
[Ed Note. The reference to Warburton probably refers to the work,
The divine legation of Moses demonstrated / By the Right Reverand William Warburton... (London: Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1846)] "
"Bishop Warburton on ‘Our Lord’s Prophecy on the Mount of Olives,’ and on ‘The Kingdom of Heaven.’
The following observations by the learned author of ‘The Divine Legation’ are in remarkable accord with the opinions expressed in this work:---
‘The prophecy of Jesus concerning the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by Titus is conceived in such high and swelling terms, that not only the modern interpreters, but the ancient likewise, have supposed that our Lord interweaves into it a direct prediction of His second coming to judgment. Hence arose a current opinion in those times that the consummation of all things was at hand; which hath afforded a handle to an infidel objection in these, insinuating that Jesus, in order to keep His followers attached to His service, and patient under sufferings, flattered them with the near approach of those rewards which completed all their views and expectations. To which the defenders of religion have opposed this answer: That the distinction of short and long, in the duration of time, is lost in eternity; and with the Almighty, "a thousand years are but as yesterday," etc.
‘But the principle both go upon is false; and if what hath been said be duly weighed, it will appear that this prophecy doth not respect Christ’s second coming to judgment, but His first; in the abolition of the Jewish polity and the establishment of the Christian,---that kingdom of Christ which commenced on the total ceasing of the Theocracy. For as God’s reign over the Jews entirely ended with the abolition of the temple service, so the reign of Christ, "in spirit and in truth," had then its first beginning. This was the true establishment of Christianity, not that effected by the conversion or donations of Constantine. Till the Jewish law was abolished, over which the "Father" presided as King, the reign of the "Son" could not take place; because the sovereignty of Christ over mankind was that very sovereignty of God over the Jews transferred and more largely extended.
‘This, therefore, being on of the most important eras in the economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God’s religious dispensations, we see the elegance and propriety of the terms in question to denote so great an event, together with the destruction of Jerusalem, by which it was effected; for in the whole prophetic language, the change and fall of principalities and powers, whether spiritual or civil, are signified by the shaking of heavens and earth, the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars; as the rise and establishment of new ones are by processions in the clouds of heaven, by the sound of trumpets, and the assembling together of hosts and congregations.’ (Appendix to The Parousia)